TMO: Bad Sim or Unlucky?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by Jedi5, Jul 9, 2013.

  1. macrumors 6502

    Aug 16, 2009
    North Burbs, IL
    Left ATT to join the TMO and now I think I'm regretting it.
    3-4 times now my 4S has displayed either no service or searching.
    Each time I've rebooted my phone and service came back.
    The longest I was at "No Service" was maybe 30-45 minutes.
    I had to eject my SIM - do a reinstall and then everything was OK.
    At times, If I am in my office basement, I lose service.
    Everything that didn't or wasn't happening with ATT.

    I did a check for map coverage before I changed and it seemed to be OK.
    Also asked did searches and a good %age of those that switched seemed
    to be happy.

    I've read that maybe it could be the SIM. Is there a way to pinpoint the problem?
    I really didn't want to but if I upgrade to the new iPhone coming out, will that maybe help me out with spotty service?

  2. macrumors 603

    Jun 14, 2010
    Don't suppose you've thought about stopping by a T-Mobile store and having them change out the SIM for a new one?

    Seems that'd make it pretty clear whether the problem is with the phone or the SIM...
  3. thread starter macrumors 6502

    Aug 16, 2009
    North Burbs, IL
    I have.

    Before I went though, I wanted to know if maybe there was some
    setting on my iPhone I need to toggle on/off?
    Some simple fix I wasn't aware of.

    Also didn't want TMO to give me the run around and tell
    me it was something else out of their hands.
    I thought I would ask here first so I can be better
    prepared incase they give me a hard time.
  4. macrumors 603

    Jun 14, 2010
    Sorry, I missed seeing that question in your original post. AFAIK there's no such setting. Highest probability is either your SIM has issues or the SIM socket in your phone has issues.

    I'd recommend:
    1. Get a new SIM from T-Mobile and see if the problem continues.
    2. If it does, then try a full restore on the phone just to be sure it's not software
    3. Go to an Apple store and have them fix it. Tell them you've already done steps #1 & #2.
  5. takeshi74, Jul 9, 2013
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2013

    macrumors 601

    Feb 9, 2011
    Don't rely on coverage maps. Always confirm real world coverage. Maps are procedurally generated. They don't send people out to every point in the world to measure signal at each of those points.

    Try verifying with another TMO device. Keep in mind that no carrier will guarantee indoor coverage. at&t's coverage of your basement is irrelevant with regard to TMO's. They don't use the same towers, frequencies, etc.

    Does this happen no matter where you're located or just in certain spots?

    That also means nothing. Always verify real world coverage where you need it. You may need to take a new carrier for a spin to test it out and decide before your period to cancel with ETF runs out in order to do so.

    Unless the OP has ruled out TMO's coverage I'd suspect that to be the highest probability. It could certainly be the phone but there's not enough info provided to say one way or another.
  6. macrumors 68000

    Mar 25, 2013
    This is a T-Mo issue. My iPhone goes in and out of service every once in a while. With T-Mo you have to take the good with the bad, this is one of the bad parts of service with them.
  7. thread starter macrumors 6502

    Aug 16, 2009
    North Burbs, IL
    Thanks all for the replies and suggestions!

    It doesn't happen everywhere or all the time but I do see it happening
    now more often. I'm in the basement right now in my office looking at the phone and see "No Service" staring right back at me.

    Today I went out to eat during lunch and for a good 30 seconds I lost
    service. I also couldn't access the internet. I tried turning on/off wifi and data
    to see if that would trigger something but nothing worked.

    When I switched to TMO, I wasn't expecting 100% service... but I also
    wasn't expecting this.

    I'll go to TMO and ask them to switch out the SIM.
    Now I just tell them I think i have a bad SIM?
    Is there anything else I should say or word it differently to get a better response from them?

    So it is safe to say that upgrading my 4S to the new phone when it comes out
    will most likely not improve anything?

    Thanks again!
  8. macrumors 603

    Jun 14, 2010
    Not enough info to be safe to say anything at all.
  9. macrumors 68000

    Mar 25, 2013
    Keep us posted.
  10. macrumors 6502

    Jul 17, 2002
    My service got much better when I upgraded from the 4S to the T-Mobile-optimized 5. The 4S was dropping out and getting horribly slow speeds. Now, the 5 get good speeds and I don't get "No Service" nearly as often, if ever.

    I think the better antenna that is able to receive a wider band (T-Mobile HSPA+?) in the newer iPhone 5 helps.
  11. macrumors 603

    Jun 14, 2010
    Are you in a refarmed area or no? Guessing you may not have been.

    While it's true that iphone5 is able to use frequencies used by T-mobile that iphone4 cannot, the reason is the chipset inside the phone not the antenna.
  12. thread starter macrumors 6502

    Aug 16, 2009
    North Burbs, IL
    So a quick update.

    Finally went to TMO and they quickly with no problems exchanged my SIM card. I asked the rep if this was a common problem and she said yes.
    They do have customers come in complaining about a bad SIM and they exchange them out.

    It's been 2 days so far and I haven't gotten a "No Service" message on my 4S in my basement or anywhere else in my house. Now I still don't know if I can make calls in my basement though. Haven' tried that yet. But so far, everything seems to be working better. Fingers crossed!!

    Thanks to all for the suggestions and help!
  13. macrumors 68020


    Dec 5, 2009
    Luckily it ended up being a simple fix of just needing a new SIM card.
  14. thread starter macrumors 6502

    Aug 16, 2009
    North Burbs, IL
    And of course I spoke way to soon... grr!!!

    Outside my house in the front lawn and phone is searching.
    Upstairs and phone has no service.

    I shouldn't have left ATT.

    If I were to go back or try to go back, could I get my old plan back?
    I still had the 200 txts for $5.
  15. macrumors newbie

    Jul 22, 2013
    The same thing has happened to me twice this week for about 45 seconds each time. Weird because it never happened on my iPhone 4 but after upgrading to the 5 a couple weeks ago it seems to happen somewhat often.

    It's really obnoxious but I pay such a good price for my plan on T-Mobile that I don't really care.
  16. macrumors member

    Mar 24, 2012
    I absolutely loved my AT&T service. But it's okay, at least you didn't switch to sprint! Haha.. No, AT&T will not let you get back on the $5 texting plan as that is grandfathered you can choose $20 for unlimited or 20 cents a message. :)
  17. macrumors 6502

    May 28, 2013
    T-Mobile's coverage is already spotty, by using a 4S with them you're crippling yourself even more. You should have at least gotten the iPhone 5 if you're going to use them so that you can access their AWS frequencies.

    Their coverage maps don't show the 1900mhz frequency that the iPhone 4S requires, just the AWS that the iPhone 5 uses. For some reason T-Mobile still refuses to provide a 1900mhz coverage map for customers (probably because the coverage is too embarrassing).
  18. macrumors Nehalem


    Apr 16, 2008
    At the iPhone hacks section.
    That option is long gone and you cannot get it back again.
  19. macrumors 6502a

    Aug 31, 2011
    Miami, FL
    It's not the SIM card nor the iPhone. Unfortunately it's T-Mobile's service on the 4S. Remember, you're not using a T-Mobile phone. Like someone else said, you should of at least gotten the iPhone 5. The coverage map you see everywhere on T-Mobile's website or in-store does not apply to you.
  20. macrumors 6502

    Feb 28, 2010
    Why do people leave grandfathered plans :confused:

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